An Overview of Macro-Level Opportunities in Accountancy in Singapore

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If you are embarking on a course on accounting, whether it’s Principles of Accounts (POA) or at tertiary level, here’s some good news for you. Singapore aspires to be a leading global accountancy hub for Asia-Pacific which is the fastest-growing region in accountancy services, forecasted to reach US$ 38.3 billion by 2013. Singapore contributed 2.8% to the Asia-Pacific market and its US$ 862.4 million formed 0.47% of its GDP, signalling great potential to grow. 1

In order to be on par with developed countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, Singapore aims to double the sector’s existing GDP contribution (from 0.4% to about 1%) and its contribution from services export (from 22% to 50%) over the next decade. 1

This is exciting times for those seeking employment opportunities in Singapore.

Moreover, 29 of the biggest 30 international accountancy network firms have established a presence in Singapore. Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (the “Big-4”) are part of the international accountancy networks and service a large portion (74%) of Singapore’s listed entities. The medium-sized public accountancy entities comprise those that audit 10 or more Public Interest Entities.

Together they account for 24% of the market share for audit services provided to listed companies. 1

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A world-recognised professional accountancy qualification is key to transforming Singapore’s accountancy sector. Singapore will be the regional hub where international professional bodies offer other accountancy qualifications, and where global accountancy entities operate for Asia-Pacific. The corporate entities and government agencies also offer “on-the-job” training opportunities for accountants in commerce and government service. In terms of employment, the sector directly generates about 12,000 jobs. 1

The ACCA and Robert Half Women in Accounting and Finance Survey showed that the three main industries their respondents worked at were Accounting and Audit, Manufacturing, and Banking and Finance respectively.2

According to the 2008 survey conducted by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants Singapore (ICPAS),3 only 1 out of 10 accountants are working for an accountancy firm while the majority are working for corporations. Long working hours was found to be the main reason deterring them from working in the accountancy firms. A recent survey by top recruitment company Robert Half also revealed that at least 98 percent of finance or accounting employees in Singapore work longer than what was stipulated in their contract.4 In a separate survey on female accounting and financial consultants in Singapore, it was found that the average working week is 46.1 hours.2

Number of Graduates with Degrees in Accountancy (2011/2012)



Number of Graduates

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Bachelor of Accountancy


(M: 297; F: 331) 5

MBA (Accountancy)


(M: 3; F: 1) 6

National University of Singapore (NUS)


BBA (with Accountancy)


(M: 53; F: 86) 7

Singapore Management University (SMU) 8

Bachelor of Accountancy



Master of Professional Accounting


M – Male ; F – Female

Total number of members in Asia Pacific (2011/2012) for ACCA is 43,704 ; Total number of students is 113,623 (no stand-alone figures for Singapore found). 9

The ICPAS currently has about 21,000 members, of which about 15,000 hold the title of “CPA Singapore” .1

Median Monthly Basic and Gross Wages of Accounting-Related Occupations in All Industries, June 201110


Median Basic Wage ($)

Median Gross Wage ($)



(M: 4,266; F: 4,300)


(M: 4,310; F: 4,350)

Auditor (Accounting)


(F: 4,095)


(F: 4,130)

Accounting Associate Professional


(M: 3,000; F: 2,950)


(M: 3,000; F: 3,000)

M – Male ; F – Female


1. https://www.acra.gov.sg/Publications/CDAS+Final+Report.htm

2. https://www.roberthalf.com.sg/EMEA/Singapore/Channel%20Descriptors/rh-sg/PDFs/RH_ACCA_Women_in_accounting&finance_survey.pdf

3. https://www.icpas.org.sg/doc/ICPAS%20WP_Young%20Accountants%20Career%20Intentions.pdf

4. https://www.roberthalf.com.sg/id/PR-03432/singapore-finance-accounting-employees-work-longer-hours

5. https://www.ntu.edu.sg/AboutNTU/CorporateInfo/FactsFigures/Pages/AY2011-12FirstDegreeGraduateOutputByProgrammeandGender.aspx

6. https://www.ntu.edu.sg/AboutNTU/CorporateInfo/FactsFigures/Pages/AY2011-12HigherDegreeGraduatesByGender.aspx

7. https://share.nus.edu.sg/registrar/info/statistics/ug-grad-20112012.pdf

8. https://www.smu.edu.sg/sites/default/files/smu/downloads/statistical_highlights_20120907.pdf

9. https://www.accaglobal.com/content/dam/acca/global/pdf-agm/ar2011-12.pdf

10. www.mom.gov.sg